slow motion

I think it’s slowly hitting me
not in the way a wave hits you
washing over you
rushing up to meet your skin.
An old friend.

No, not like that.

I think it’s slowly hitting me
the way an HGV would
slowly
hit
you.
All of a sudden.
And in slow motion
at the same time.

I’ve been anticipating this impact
for so long now.
Bracing myself, muscles tensed,
that I almost don’t believe it’s over.

That I can relax now
drop my shoulders
unclench my jaw
let go.

Yesterday,
when I eventually put the phone down,
I could finally
pick myself back up
from where I left myself.

Those 11 years ago.

2020

I would prize Wildwood Kin, from your little sweaty palms,
I would eat more healthily,
I would dance more often,
and refuse to let you talk over me.

I would shake my former self
look her straight into the eyes
and say, is this what you think you’ve been searching for
all your goddamn life?

I would remove those tinted glasses
and see you for what you are,
an emotionally-stunted man-child
who just happens to play guitar.

I’d take you off your pedestal,
where you’d comfortably made your nest.
I’d tell you truths like, I’m not sure I want to have biological children
and bathe in the disgust your face expressed.

I’d stop hiding my truth to please you,
unafraid of causing upset
confidently proclaim my moral views
and calmly watch you sweat.

I’d grab my former self,
lace up my running shoes,
take her by the hand
and run far away from you.

fairweather

Your not texting back,
was a stab to the heart.
But you were drinking cold liquor, with new friends
so you didn’t see that part.
You were already planning how our story would end.

In our story, from my side, we had endless pages.
But I guess you were just filling in the blanks,
until you thought you could escape this
and it came as a suckerpunch when I realised you’d pulled a Shawshank.

Too cowardly to tell me the truth,
that you lied when you said we had the rest of our lives together.
You kept me, like Dogtooth,
hidden from reality.
You were nothing more than a boyfriend for fairweather.

And when the storms rolled in,
and the thunderclaps boomed,
things headed the way they’d always been,
and you ran scared into the other room.

Away from my crying eyes
and into the arms of another.
Out of sight, out of mind,
safely beneath the skin of a different woman to hide under.

Someone sweeter,
someone breezier,
someone who wouldn’t call you a cheater.
A fairweather girlfriend,
and altogether
easier.

sorry?

i had to ask for it
i had to spell it out to you
because you’d forgotten, like you do
all the hell you put me through

i had to spell it out
this is what you did to me
and was i supposed to accept that gratefully?
and let you off, so deservedly?

what i lost when i lost you
was so much more than just a relationship
i was a sinking battleship
already losing my grip

no, you didn’t recognise the full impact
that final straw, turned to one almighty blow
i was freefalling, but imperceptibly slow
no parachute, or safety net, into the ground below

does it really count as an apology
if i had to ask for it first?
if you were coerced?
for everything you said sounded performative and rehearsed

you say you’ve changed now
that you don’t do that anymore
don’t go back on words you swore
and isn’t she lucky, the girl you now call yours?

well, i don’t accept your apology
but i’ll pretend i do with grace
i’d rather you’d left me unanswered
but i’ll let you save your face.

i don’t relate to you

i don’t relate to you anymore.
i used to think we were always on the same page
reading from the same hymn sheet
but that was back in the day

i don’t relate to you,
and that’s not to say i think i’m better than you
the days before we started unravelling
i’m well aware of the shitty things i did too

i don’t relate to you,
because i could never promise someone a life together in one breath,
and then do a full one-eighty
and claim it was for my mental health

i don’t relate to you,
because i’d never lie to hide my feelings
the ones you were too afraid
to just deal with

i don’t relate to you,
because i’d never put someone in the position you put me in
and say it was for my own good
i’d never be that fucking mean

and it’s a shame,
because for almost four years you were the only one i could relate to,
i guess it’s true that people change
and i guess i’ve outgrown you.

no, i don’t relate to you, anymore.

the things you got away with

CTRL + H
reveals an awful lot.
oh, how i wish i’d known.
what to do.
but at 18,
who does?

i’ve done my research now.
five years on a register, minimum.
but you took more than just my innocence that night,
held it captive to a loaded gun
locked and ready, with screams of
“you are not good enough”
“you are the one who’s not right”

got away with your dignity and reputation too.
and where was mine?
left in tattered pieces, torn polaroids
of what used to be
me and you.

you left with no idea of what damage you’d inflicted
and i’m still 18
and sat on your bed in the dark,
still staring at the screen.
10 years on.
but it’s not too late to have you convicted.
not yet.

you think you’ve got away with what you’ve done,
what you did,
what you excused away.
but i still remember that night
and the next day.

returning home to uni halls
broken, grey, defeated.
not telling a soul
well, not until recently,
anyway.

so how much did you really get away with?

the things that haunt me still

a phone blinking in gloomy bedroom lights
a google search history, and a site
for sore eyes

that morning where the coffee i made him went cold
when i told him to go
and another morning
where he said he didn’t want coffee at all
and i broke down crying; this isn’t a discussion anymore

holding his hair back whilst he was sick
after taking too many drugs, again
the smell of cigarettes on his mouth
and his lips
dripping
with lies

guitar melodies that used to be just for my ears
well i guess she hears
them now too

and a gut feeling,
that i knew it was all wrong
for a long time
but i still clung on

until

fingertips leaving reluctant fingertips
in the departure gate
turning back one final time to watch him go
and with each step,
sealed our fates

his to move on.
like him before.
and for me to remain.
within the lonely tales of folklore.

a warning

oh, he’ll be there
for the good times
for the falling in love
over a bottle of red wine times

for the holding hands in the woods
and for the wishing on should
we, be
an eternity, a whole,
two bodies, but one soul

oh, he’ll be there

but not for when things turn sour
when minutes feel like hours
across the dining table
the candle light a token gesture
and not a word has been spoken yet

empty promises of, i’ll never leave you
but he won’t be there when it’s needed
punching, kicking, scratching, screaming
he won’t be there when the tears come streaming

he was there for the good version of you
on your best behaviour, you
for the confident, happy, exciting you
but when reality came, like an awesome wave
he couldn’t see it through

after all, i’ve come to learn, i was nothing more than a getaway car
that drove too fast
and eventually took us both tumbling
off the path

yes, i am talking to you.

you unbuckled your seatbelt and leapt
from the impending wreckage
and you ran
without a second glance over your shoulder
to see the flames
that you’d left.

(he won’t be there)

soft / bruises

love bites.
the bruises are lingering
on my chest, my hips, my back
a reminder, of candlelight dwindling
and silk ties
and too much pink wine.

but there are bruises still
on my self-esteem
on my heart
deep in my soul
and love’s keen sting
has left its indefinite mark.

does this mean i’ve remained soft, like i wanted,
through this tempest?
not hardened
still easy to bruise and still tender?

we both sidestep 3 consecutive manhole covers
wish on eyelashes
wish on 11:11
cross our fingers and pinky swear, we’re lovers
and love bites, but
is this it?
and am i finally doing it right?

let me down

in the beginning, there was a time
when we were the talk of the town
a twisted love affair
but, in the end, you let me down

our days filled with conversation
i wore our love like a crown
our nights filled with tenderness
and still, you let me down.

there were months when you
were the only person i wanted to be around
my knight in a plaid shirt and slippers
and yet, you let me down

the cracks began to show
the crown fell to the ground
and you didn’t want to be there to help pick up the pieces,
that’s how you let me down.

and now i look back and i’m angry
that i turned my life upside down
all in the name of what i thought was “love”
and then you went and let me down

was i not worth fixing?
was i worth leaving to drown?
in the blackened waters of my mind?
was it easier to let me down?

i ask because you did it so easily
maybe you were on a huge comedown
of the idea of me
not the reality of me
and that’s how you let me down

what was once our palace
soon became a ghost town
but i will rise up from these ashes
and i won’t let myself down.